Marin median home price hits $1 million despite slow season

Marin median home price hits $1 million despite slow season The median price of a Marin home jumped 16 percent in November, to $1 million, an unusual gain given the usually slow winter season, and sales dropped 3 percent, a data service reported Tuesday. In November, 202 homes sold in Marin, compared with 208 in the same month last year, according to Irvine-based CoreLogic DataQuick. The median price jumped to $1,005,000, compared with $870,000 in November 2013. Condo prices were up 7 percent, while sales plummeted 29 percent. CoreLogic reported that 55 condos sold in November 2014, compared with 77 in the same month last year, and the median price was $449,000 in November 2014, compared with $420,000 in November 2013. Asked about the unseasonal price uptick, Marin agents were quick to cite the dearth of homes on the market. For almost three years, buyers have had few homes to choose from. As eager buyers competed for the few properties available, bidding higher and higher, prices went up. “November and December are not the time people would ordinarily put a house on the market,” acknowledged Patricia Navone, a Pacific Union agent. “But there is so much buyer demand, we could sell more if we had it.” Navone has firsthand acquaintance with the hot winter real estate market. “I have my own listing in Mill Valley priced at $3,795,000. It is closing next week, three days before Christmas,” Navone said. “I had half a dozen showings and it sold. It’s like April in November and December.” Another agent mentioned a phenomenon affecting Marin that is also driving prices up: San Francisco spillover. “There are all these people who work for tech companies in San Francisco. They look at prices in San Francisco and they’re so high, Marin prices don’t look so bad in comparison,” said David Smadbeck, a Coldwell Banker agent. “I’m working with a client now who is a Facebook employee,” Smadbeck said. Returning to the dearth of homes on the market, Smadbeck said, “There are a considerable number of people out there trying to buy a house who have been waiting all this time, and as soon as a house comes on (the market), they grab it. “In years past, they would wait until spring. But the competition has been so fierce, it has been rough,” the agent said. “This has been going on for three years,” said George Crowe, an Alain Pinel agent, referring to the inventory shortage. “2011 was the perfect time to buy a house,” with prices still low and many homes to choose from. “A lot of people are speculating that homeowners aren’t selling because they don’t know what they would buy. And the rental market is so tough, it’s not easy to find a good rental to move into temporarily,” Crowe said. Like Navone, Peter Pickrel, a Coldwell Banker agent, just sold a house. He credited the season and the heavy rains. “We got in there, we got a good price for it and a backup offer came in two days, higher than what my buyer paid, so my buyer got lucky,” Pickrel said. “The heavy rains last week probably slowed people up looking at property. My buyer snuck in there and got in before other buyers wrote offers.” According to Paul Cingolani, a Bradley Real Estate agent, Pickrel hit the nail on the head. “I am the agent for an investment group that buys, rehabilitates and sells properties. In November, a $4 million house in Kentfield had been on the market 88 days. At the end of November, I had two offers within a day of each other,” Cingolani said. “As inventory gets tight, buyers who were sitting on the fence jump in to try to get good deals,” the agent said. “The second week of December the same thing happened. A property in Sausalito that had been on the market 95 days got two separate offers,” Cingolani said. “It’s not just the buyers. Many sellers take their properties off the market during the holidays because of the inconvenience of showing their houses during the holidays when they want to see their families,” Cingolani said. “Those who hang in there seem to be benefiting greatly toward year’s end,” Cingolani said. David N. Swaim Tam Realty Inc Owner DRE#1070789 415-710-5504 609 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo CA 94960 www.tamrealty.com Serving all of Marin County

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